7 days in Beijing, China

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there are 9 million bicycles in Beijing, that’s a fact, it’s a thing we can’t deny… (this is a line from one of my favourite songs by Katie Melua).

I spent roughly 7 days in Beijing, China at the beginning of November. I was there for work purposes but I had some free-ish days where I had 1 meeting per day and the rest of the day off so I managed to do some exploring. This was my first time in mainland China and I was very excited about going but also anxious about the cultural and language differences. I ended up having a great time though despite being sick for a few days while I was there.

Renaissance Hotel Wangfujing

This is the hotel where I stayed, it was in a good area with a lot of shops in walking distance and tourist attractions close by. The view from my window could’ve been waaay better though!

The streets were super clean – I was quite surprised at that given the amount of people living in the city but it seems like they are very disciplined with regards to cleanliness. One thing that got to me was how people just spat on the street – I noticed it sooo many times and I would see blobs of spit on the sidewalk. yuk!

I’m not one for architecture but I enjoyed marvelling at the buildings in the city, there was a mix of traditional and modern. I particularly enjoyed the traditional ones.

Designer shops were all over the place – these were the few I took photos of that were in my neighbourhood. One thing I also noticed was how the Chinese embrace both their cultural and Western influenced sides.

Beijing china intersectionSome of the intersections were huge! They seemed to be working very well though because pedestrians use the underpasses and the bridges to cross the road. I can’t imagine addind pedestrians to the mix in this intersection… it would be chaos!

I love being in a place where season changes are visual, (side note: this was one of the things I loved most about Switzerland when I lived there). Beijing was filled with trees with yellow leaves as the seasons change from summer to autumn – it was such a visual delight.

Work mode – I was invited to Beijing to give a talk at an expo – one of the biggest expos we have in my sector, so it was a pretty big deal. This is me just before going on stage – I’m not wearing an earring on this ear because I had to take it off as it was going to interfere with the mic during my talk. I had such a good time on stage and totally enjoyed it – it was definitely a career highlight.

Out on the town – Living in Durban means that I hardly ever get to rock proper winter glam, so I went all out when I got the chance in Beijing. On my second to last day I bought a mask for cover my nose and mouth, it was such a lifesaver! It helped to filter out the pollutants from the air that were making the cough I had even worse and I was breathing warm air when I stepped out.

During my last few hours in the city these taxi drivers wanted to scam me by charging me an exorbitant amount of money to drive me back to my hotel (they thought I was American) so I was forced to take a subway. I knew nothing about the Beijing subway system but I managed to get myself to the hotel and it was dirt cheap. I share more about that experience on my vlog.


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